Capital of the Campania region, gateway to the Amalfi Coast, the Isle of Capri (pronounced CAH-pree!) and the land of mozzarella, Naples is Italy distilled, Italy on steroids, Italy to the nth degree. If you don't like the human race, stay clear of Naples, for it is essentially a village where everyone spends the better part of their lives in the streets, talking, singing, shouting, laughing, crying, praying, hawking, debating and endlessly, eternally discussing Sunday's soccer game. Naples is probably the only city on earth where there is actually a street shrine dedicated to a soccer star! Take a stroll through Spaccanapoli, the city's liveliest and most entertaining neighborhood, where the steep cobblestone streets are lined with thousands of postage-stamp size shops and laundry hangs from every second-story window. At a certain point you'll see a flower-bedecked picture with an eternal flame in front of it: get a closer look and you'll be surprised to see not the image of the Madonna or a favorite saint but a full-color shot of Diego Maradona! Only the Neapolitans would be clever enough to apply such tongue-in-cheek irreverence to their deep-seated religious fervor. And such is life in Naples: an eternal contradiction in terms, an endless battle where the day-to-day adversities of life are defeated by humanity and humor. As we said, don't come here if you like pristine landscapes populated only by faraway sheep. Naples is Human Nature in metropolitan form. And what a show they put on 24 hours a day!
Across the square is the rear façade of the Royal Palace,
where several Kings of Naples are immortalized in niches